News & Reports 2012-06-03

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Broadcasting Time: 07:00-08:00, GMT+08:00, 2012-06-03

Hello and Welcome to News and Reports on China Radio International.

In This Edition

Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak gets life sentence for his role in the killings of protesters during last year's revolution.

A Syrian member of parliament rejects the condemnation issued by the UN's top human rights body over the slaughter of more than 100 civilians in Houla last week.

Afghan security forces step up security measures following an attack on a NATO base.

And Spain is calling for a new fiscal euro zone authority that would harmonize national budgets and manage the block's debts.

Hot Issue Reports

Mubarak Sentenced to Life Imprisonment
Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison on Saturday for his role in the killing of protesters during a revolution that forced him from power last year.

The 84-year-old is the first former leader to be tried in person since the start of the Arab Spring in early 2011.

Former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly also received a life sentence for the deaths of demonstrators.

Presiding Judge Ahmed Refaat.

"First, a life sentence for Mohammed Hosni Sayyed Mubarak for the crimes he was accused of in relation to his involvement in the homicide murders and in the other attempted murders attributed to him by association. Second, the court sentences Habin Ibrahim Habib el-Adly."

Mubarak and his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, were acquitted on separate charges of corruption.

Mubarak pleaded innocent to the charges. The defendants can file appeals of their sentences 60 days after they have been announced.

Clashes erupted between lawyers and families of those killed in the demonstration after the court issued the verdicts. Some 20,000 police and army forces secured the court with severe security measures.

Egyptians had different reactions to the verdicts.

People who have gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square welcomed the ruling. But there was still sympathy for Mubarak, with some saying that it was a politicised conviction.

"Honestly, there are people who have been oppressed... I mean the judgment on Hosni Mubarak and al-Adly were correct. But the rest of it is not right."

"And, praise God, this is God's will. We can't cast doubt upon it. It's the justice of the honorable Egyptian judiciary."

Mubarak's verdict came just days after the first round of presidential elections, which decided a runoff between his last Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq and top foe, Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi.

UN Calls for International Action in Syria
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the escalating violence in Syria shows the urgent need for the international community to take bolder steps.

Speaking in Istanbul, Turkey, on Friday, Ban warned that any repeat of the Houla massacre could tip Syria into a civil war, and drag neighboring countries into a bloody sectarian conflict.

He called for decisive international action to prevent further loss of lives in Syria.

"I fondly believe that if international community knows more, it will be better positioned to advance our efforts to find a durable political solution. A solution that holds the bloodshed and save lives in interest of all Syrians. If the escalating violence shows anything it is that we urgently need bolder steps."

Meanwhile, UN special envoy Kofi Annan said he is "frustrated" over the continued violence in Syria.

He told reporters in Beirut that Syrian president Bashar Assad must send a signal to the international community that he's determined to implement a UN-brokered peace plan following the Houla massacre.

"I know we are all impatient, we are all frustrated by the violence by the killings, so am I. I think perhaps I am more frustrated than most of you because I am in the thick of things and would really want to see things move much faster."

Annan is trying to salvage a truce that he initiated almost two months ago, which calls for a cease-fire by both sides. But the plan has not stopped the country's violent conflict.

Syria Rejects Condemnation by UN Human Rights Body
Syrians have rejected the condemnation issued by the UN's top human rights body over the slaughter of more than 100 civilians in Houla last week.

Sharif Shehadeh, a pro-government member of parliament, described the resolution by the United Nations Council of Human Rights as "against reality."

"Human rights organisations don't always reflect reality. What happened in the Council of Human Rights is against reality. Those who try to find excuses for the armed groups do not seek the truth. The Council did not take into account what is happening in Syria. As a result, who wants to investigate this should come to the Syrian Government and take the results of the government's investigations as a reference."

Shehadeh added that any external investigation should not be "subject to a political pressure from the United States of America or the European states."

A majority of countries in the 47-nation rights council supported a US- and Arab-led resolution condemning the "outrageous use of force against the civilian population" in Houla.

The resolution blamed "pro-regime elements" and government troops for the massacre. But Russia has echoed the Syrian government's explanation for the killings, blaming rebels that the Kremlin says are trying to stir up a civil war.

Security Boosted in Afghanistan after Taliban Attack on NATO Base
Afghan security forces stepped up security measures on Saturday following an attack on a NATO base in eastern Afghanistan.

Security was tight as military helicopters hovered overhead.

On Friday, Taliban insurgents detonated a truck bomb, then tried to storm a NATO base in Khost, but coalition forces repelled the attack, killing 14 militants.

A NATO spokesperson said no foreign or Afghan troops were killed.

On Saturday, Afghan police checkpoints carried out stop and search activities on traffic on the main roads in Khost.

Major Ahmad Shah is an Afghan police officer deployed on the ground.

"We are on high alert because of yesterday's attacks which wounded civilians, including women, and they are still in hospital. This is not acceptable, and that is why we are here carrying out thorough searches of individuals."

In the past two years, the U.S.-led coalition has sent tens of thousands of troops into Taliban strongholds in the south and has largely succeeded in boosting security there.

The Taliban has responded by opening up new fronts in the north and west and stepping up attacks in the east, where much of the heaviest fighting is presently concentrated.

NATO plans to pull combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and turn security over to local forces.

China, Tunisia Confident in Bilateral Tie Prospects
Top officials of China and Tunisia said Friday that the two countries are confident about future prospects for their bilateral ties.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi is in Tunisia for an official visit, after attending the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum in the country.

Yang said China and Tunisia enjoy an impressive traditional friendship and have seen remarkable achievements in their cooperation in various areas.

"I wish that Tunisia under the leadership of the interim government will make more achievements in economic and social development."

Yang also noted that bilateral relations between the two nations has a new opportunity for development given the significant changes in the international and regional political arenas.

Meanwhile, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki said Tunisia regards China as an example of successful social and economic development, and is willing to strengthen cooperation and exchanges with China in various areas as well as extend coordination in international and regional affairs.

Spain Calls for a New Fiscal Euro Zone Authority
Spain is calling for a new fiscal euro zone authority that would harmonize national budgets and manage the block's debts.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says the European Union should move towards further integration and transfer of sovereignty, especially in the fiscal field.

"And this means a compromise to create a new European fiscal authority which would guide the fiscal policy in the euro zone, harmonize the fiscal policy of member states and enable a centralized control of public finances."

The Spanish government, which has hiked taxes, slashed spending, cut social benefits and bailed out troubled banks, argues that there is little else it can do and the European Union should now act to ease the country's liquidity concerns.

Spain's borrowing costs has recorded highs and the country is closer to seeking an international bailout with overspending in the regions and troubles with a banking sector badly hit by a property crash four years ago.

Together with the prospects of a Greek euro exit, EU policymakers have considered measures such as a "banking union".

Germany, the paymaster of the euro zone, and others insist such a move can only happen as part of a drive to much closer fiscal union and relinquishing of national sovereignty.

China Ships back Illegal Waste to the Netherlands
China is sending back to the Netherlands more than 30 containers of illegally imported urban waste seized by Chinese customs authorities five months ago.

At that time, the Dutch police informed the Nanjing Customs authority in eastern China that some 4,000 tons of household waste were on their way to the country.

When the container ship arrived in Nanjing, customs officers found it contained more than 760 tons of municipal waste from households, offices and restaurants-all in the form of solid waste which is forbidden for China to import.

Police authorities have detained seven suspects linked to the case, who have confessed to smuggling to China 4,000 tons of household waste from the Netherlands, the United States and Canada since last October by fabricating false commodity names and shipping documents.

Si Yongshen, Deputy Director of Nanjing Customs, says international cooperation led to the crackdown on urban waste smuggling.

"International cooperation is the only realistic way to keep foreign waste from entering our country. Otherwise, we can't ship it back even if we have discovered and seized it, and we have to dispose of it in China. So we must seek international cooperation, which means those who produce the garbage will be held responsible for its disposal."

The refused shipment of urban waste is expected to arrive in Rotterdam in July.

Chinese Replica of Austrian Village Opens to Visitors
Those who want to visit an Austrian scenic mountain village without leaving China can now go to the subtropical south where a replica of an Austrian village has been opened to the public in Guangdong Province's Huizhou city, about 160 kilometers from Hong Kong.

The high-end residential project is inspired by the centuries-old village Hallstatt, a UNESCO heritage site with a population of 800, which survives on tourism.

Alexander Scheutz, Hallstatt's mayor, says the residents are proud that the Chinese have built a replica of their town.

"It was very interesting for us to see our houses in another way, because it is on the other side of the world. The marketplace, the houses, are on the other side, but it's very true, the running water. And it is like in Hallstatt, and it's very well made."

But not everyone is happy. Monika Wenger, a hotel owner in Hallstatt, is disappointed that the Chinese real estate developer did not ask the building owners for permission to duplicate their structures.

"The buildings in Hallstatt are world-heritage stone, but the buildings are private. And they should have asked the owners of the hotel and the other buildings if we agreed with the idea to rebuild Hallstatt in China, and they did not. And that was a big problem we had with this project here."

The Chinese Hallstatt features a church spire, a town square ringed by pastel-colored buildings and statues of angels.

New Ways to Celebrate Children's Day
Parents and children in Beijing have celebrated Children's Day in different ways other than giving kids gifts, as they believe that an unforgettable experience will be more meaningful for their children and teach them to understand the concept of sharing with others. Xu Fei has more.

Luo Hongwei, a father of a 10-year old boy, has helped organize a special flea market for Children's Day in the residential community where his family lives in east Beijing.

He says as soon as the residents were informed of the small-scale event, quite a few local families expressed a need to exchange their children's used toys, clothes and stationery items.

Luo, who joined the civil charity organization China Council of Lions Clubs last year, says the flea market was also arranged as a charitable activity.
0531luo1 Male in Mandarin Chinese 10."

"We'll collect the used toys, stationery and clothing that were not exchanged at the flea market and donate them to the children of ethnic minority groups in some impoverished areas in Yunnan Province."

Luo says those who have arranged the special activity to celebrate Children's Day hope the children can develop a spirit of giving to others.
0531luo2 Male in Mandarin Chinese 7"

"We expect the children to come to understand the concept of thrift and environmental protection as well as learn to show love for their peers."

Some kindergartens and other schools in Beijing have also held novel activities to entertain kids on Children's Day. The English First School for Kids and Teenagers in Beijing is one of them. It has invited parents to join their children in a super race around the city.

The super race follows the format of the "Amazing Race" show that's popular in the United States. Some 160 participants form groups of four, consisting of two children and two parents. Each group is actually involved in a competition to see who will first arrive at the destination after finding the right clues or providing the correct answers to questions asked by their foreign teachers who wait for them at four consecutive stops in the Beijing subway.

Lee Russler, an EF English teacher, designed the activity.

"Well, we wanted to have tasks for the students and parents to have a lot of fun. But we also wanted them to see Beijing, because I don't think parents and their children have the opportunity really to travel around their own city. I think it's nice to have such an opportunity on Children's Day."

Russler says an important goal of the activity is to further strengthen the relationship between children and their parents.

Sophie, who works in a local government department, says she believes the activity is a meaningful way for her daughter to celebrate Children's Day.

"I think two points. One is because we'll form a team, so it encourages the children to know how to have teamwork and then raise the competition spirit. This is one point, while another one is it's also a good way to practice their English. Today is Children's Day. And I think it's a good way to celebrate Children's Day."

In addition, some kindergartens in Beijing have also held joint parties to let children meet each other and possibly form friendships.

For CRI, I'm Xu Fei.

British Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations Under Way
Four days of celebration is underway for the commemoration of British Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne.

Festivities started on Saturday with a 41-gun salute fired by the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, at Horse Guards Parade in central London.

Gun salutes were also fired by Tower Bridge in central London, and there was a rather smaller scale tribute near Windsor Castle, where 21 mini-cannons were fired to mark the start of celebrations.

The Queen herself was enjoying a day at the races at Epsom, south-west of London. The Queen, who was wearing royal blue, is an avid rider and also owns and breeds racehorses.

On Sunday, a flotilla of 1,000 boats assembled from around the globe will sail along the Thames to accompany the queen and her 90-year-old husband on a royal barge, the largest such pageant for 350 years.

Normal Cannell, one boat-owner taking part in the event, is excited about the celebration.

"Well it's the biggest event of its type that's ever been done for many, many, many years. We were talking the other day we actually think there's very few countries that could lay on this sort of event and it's fantastic to be part of it."

The boats are expected to sail from Putney in the west of London to Tower Bridge in the east.

Huge crowds are expected to line the streets and the River Thames for the event, although rain is forecast which could dampen enthusiasm.

China Daily: China and Arab Nations Deepen Ties

Top diplomats from China and 17 Arab countries have met this week in Tunisia for the fifth Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum to explore new ways to reinforce the growing cooperation and discuss issues of regional and international significance.

An editorial in China Daily believes the meeting will strengthen Sino-Arab ties and help shape a cooperative model featuring mutual benefits and mutual trust. It says the China-Arab Cooperation Forum has become a major platform for bilateral dialogue since it was established in 2004, as bilateral trade between the two sides had almost doubled last year compared to the US$100-billion target set at the first forum.

The editorial notes that the two sides have contributed to the stability of world oil prices through pragmatic and fruitful cooperation. Early this year, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited the Arabian Peninsula and pledged to stabilize trade in oil, natural gas and other commodities as well as increase Chinese imports of non-energy products and exports of high-tech products.

The editorial goes on the say that stronger China-Arab ties will help both parties better protect their core interests and contribute to the building of a multipolar world which is more open to dialogue and international consultation given the profound shift in the balance of power in the world.

Noting the major changes that are taking place in Asia and Africa, the editorial says the two sides share a common desire to build stability and peace in the region, as they have maintained close communication and backed political solutions to conflicts and crises, including the Syria issue.


People's Daily Online: Western Nations Adopt Chinese Concept of Filial Piety

Among the many issues facing society today, caring for the elderly is an important one, especially for nations with a growing number of senior citizens.

In recent years, solutions to the problem in countries like the United States and Canada have begun to stress the importance of the traditional Chinese notion of filial piety.

A commentary in the People's Daily Online welcomes the development, saying that the Chinese tradition can help improve the welfare of senior citizens in western societies.

It first explains the difference between traditional Chinese and mainstream western cultures in caring for the elderly. It notes that because western culture highlights personal independence, many young people are unwilling to live with their aging parents. Therefore, the majority of older people live by themselves or in nursing homes. By contrast, Chinese culture attaches great importance to filial piety as the "first among all virtues" and stresses that children should support their parents and revere elders.

The commentary notes that the Chinese notion, promoted by Chinese immigrants, has gradually gained popularity in some western countries. It cites the example of Kimberley Parker, a public relations supervisor at the Administration on Aging of Illinois, as saying that "currently about a quarter of families in America choose to take care of their elders at home."

In addition, 28 U.S. states have promulgated laws on filial piety for improving senior citizens' lives.

Canada also has made efforts to create a social environment for the elderly by encouraging various volunteer groups to participate in serving seniors.

The People's Daily Online commentary attributes the popularity of filial piety to the notion's emphasis on comprehensive support for the elderly, including both material and emotional care.

In conclusion, the commentary calls for the further promotion of Chinese culture for the benefit of the ever-increasing number of elderly people around the world.